Here comes the luxury Pop-up wedding: Auckland couple’s business to bring joy back to wedding days.

NZ Herald, 31 Mar, 2019

Helping newlyweds end their big day with a sense of joy, rather than relief at it all being over, inspired one couple to set up a luxury pop-up wedding business.

Ruth Carpenter and Kevin Townsend’s company Simply Wed works by arranging the venue and its styling, food, photography, celebrant, flowers and cake, based on choices made from a “set menu” of options, with the couple left to organise only their outfits, rings, marriage licence and transportation.

The Herald wrote last year about Skinny Love Weddings’ $3,299, 90-minute, budget pop-up weddings for those wanting more than a registry wedding, but less than the “full shebang” of a traditional wedding. The bill was pegged low because couples effectively shared costs with up to four other couples they never saw.

Simply Wed uses the same concept, but is instead aimed at the luxury market, meaning two weddings are held over six hours each on the same day, Carpenter said.

The standard package of $9,995 allows for 30 guests. But for an added cost, the guest list could be increased to 100 at two of the five Auckland venues they use. Other extras, such as helicopter transport for the couple, can also be added.

On the menu is Veuve Clicquot champagne, canapes and grazing platters, and the newlyweds also got three hours’ worth of photography.

The Flat Bush couple started Simply Wed after their own wedding 13 months ago.

While they didn’t find organising their nuptials stressful, they knew it wasn’t the same for everyone.

“There’s a number of things that contribute to that — finding a venue and organising catering, a photographer and a celebrant.”

One couple they worked with came to them after spending 10 years engaged because they couldn’t find time to organise a wedding, she said.

“In generations past your wedding day was the biggest day of your life. Often now both people are working, they’re in important jobs. They want a nice wedding but they have other priorities.”

Auckland bride-to-be Stephanie McCallum can relate – she was engaged to fiancé Hamish Donnithorne for eight years before arranging a Simply Wed wedding for next February.

“When he proposed we thought the timing would be better to have kids first and marry after, and then we got a mortgage. Life got laden with commitments and every time we looked into it, it all got too hard.”

Watching reality show Married at First Sight together sparked a dare from McCallum, who had seen an ad about Simply Wed.

“I joked with him ‘you book it and I’ll turn up’. He did.”

A survey of 2,000 married British couples revealed just over half found the experience of organising their wedding stressful, the Independent reported last month.

The survey, commissioned by hotel chain Mercure, found 83 per cent of respondents were heavily involved in planning their own wedding, and almost half admitted they’d fallen out with their partner over an element of the wedding.

A quarter also admitted they’d squabbled with their mother-in-law, or made some decisions about their wedding to keep their parents or in-laws happy, the Independent reported.

Townsend said the business had taught them the time demands of organising a wedding was a major issue for couples.

“We’ve definitely learned in the past six months that it’s the stress that’s the big thing for people, not the cost.”

Some people knew of others who’d spent every weekend over a year working on at least one aspect of their big day.

Others wanted to avoid pressure from family over their nuptials, he said.

“For a lot of people [the end of the wedding] is not a sense of joy, it’s a sense of relief. We’re here to say it doesn’t have to be that way.”

Photo by Owen Allison, article by Cherie Howie, Reporter, NZ Herald.


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